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  1. #1

    The Sports Doping Thread

    Russian Insider Says State-Run Doping Fueled Olympic Gold


    The director of Russia’s antidoping laboratory at the time of the Sochi Games said urine samples were surreptitiously replaced by somehow breaking into tamper-proof bottles. Credit Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

    LOS ANGELES — Dozens of Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, including at least 15 medal winners, were part of a state-run doping program, meticulously planned for years to ensure dominance at the Games, according to the director of the country’s antidoping laboratory at the time.

    The director, Grigory Rodchenkov, who ran the laboratory that handled testing for thousands of Olympians, said he developed a three-drug cocktail of banned substances that he mixed with liquor and provided to dozens of Russian athletes, helping to facilitate one of the most elaborate — and successful — doping ploys in sports history.

    It involved some of Russia’s biggest stars of the Games, including 14 members of its cross-country ski team and two veteran bobsledders who won two golds.

    In a dark-of-night operation, Russian antidoping experts and members of the intelligence services surreptitiously replaced urine samples tainted by performance-enhancing drugs with clean urine collected months earlier, somehow breaking into the supposedly tamper-proof bottles that are the standard at international competitions, Dr. Rodchenkov said. For hours each night, they worked in a shadow laboratory lit by a single lamp, passing bottles of urine through a hand-size hole in the wall, to be ready for testing the next day, he said.

    By the end of the Games, Dr. Rodchenkov estimated, as many as 100 dirty urine samples were expunged.

    None of the athletes were caught doping. More important, Russia won the most medals of the Games, easily surpassing its main rival, the United States, and undermining the integrity of one of the world’s most prestigious sporting events.

    “People are celebrating Olympic champion winners, but we are sitting crazy and replacing their urine,” Dr. Rodchenkov said. “Can you imagine how Olympic sport is organized?”

    After The New York Times asked Russian officials to respond to the claims, Russia’s sports minister, Vitaly Mutko, released a statement to the news media calling the revelations “a continuation of the information attack on Russian sport.”

    Dr. Rodchenkov laid out the details of the operation over three days of interviews that were arranged by an American filmmaker, Bryan Fogel, who is working on a documentary that involves Dr. Rodchenkov.

    Dr. Rodchenkov’s account could not be independently verified, but it was consistent with the broad findings of a report published last year by the World Anti-Doping Agency. He provided The Times with emails detailing doping efforts and a spreadsheet that he said was sent to him by the sports ministry before the Sochi Games. It named the athletes involved in the doping program.

    Dr. Rodchenkov described his own work at Sochi as a “strong accomplishment,” the apex of a decade-long effort to perfect Russia’s doping strategy at international competitions.

    “We were fully equipped, knowledgeable, experienced and perfectly prepared for Sochi like never before,” he said. “It was working like a Swiss watch.”

    Grigory Rodchenkov, who ran the Sochi laboratory, said he developed a three-drug cocktail of banned substances that he provided to dozens of Russian athletes. Credit Emily Berl for The New York Times

    After Sochi, Dr. Rodchenkov was awarded the prestigious Order of Friendship by President Vladimir V. Putin.

    Six months ago, however, he had a dramatic change in fortune.

    In November, the World Anti-Doping Agency identified Dr. Rodchenkov as the linchpin in what it described as an extensive state-sponsored doping program in Russia, accusing him of extorting money from athletes — the only accusation he denies — as well as covering up positive drug tests and destroying hundreds of urine samples.

    After the report came out, Dr. Rodchenkov said, Russian officials forced him to resign. Fearing for his safety, he moved to Los Angeles, with the help of Mr. Fogel.

    Back in Russia, two of Dr. Rodchenkov’s close colleagues died unexpectedly in February, within weeks of each other; both were former antidoping officials, one who resigned soon after Dr. Rodchenkov fled the country.

    The November report was primarily focused on track and field, but Dr. Rodchenkov described the whole spectrum of Russian sport as tainted by banned substances. Admitting to more than what WADA investigators accused him of, he said it was not hundreds of urine samples that he destroyed but rather several thousand, in last-ditch efforts to mask the extent of the country’s doping.

    Dr. Rodchenkov said he received the spreadsheet naming athletes on the doping program on Jan. 21, 2014, two weeks before the Games and shortly after he arrived in Sochi to begin work at the Olympic laboratory. It was to be used for reference during competition, Dr. Rodchenkov said, and outlined the competition schedule for each athlete. If any of them won a medal, their urine samples had to be substituted.

    Until now, a precise accounting of how Russian officials could have executed such a complex doping operation was not publicly known.

    Pressure to Win
    Dr. Rodchenkov’s revelations, his first public comments since fleeing, come at a crucial moment for Russia. In November, in the wake of the WADA report, the country was provisionally suspended from international track and field competition; in the coming weeks, leaders of the sport’s global governing body will decide whether to lift a ban ahead of this summer’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

    Russia is also preparing to host the next World Cup, in 2018.

    Responding to the cascade of accusations, Mr. Putin called for an inquiry, but Russian officials have been largely dismissive of claims about widespread doping by the country’s athletes.

    The Times submitted questions about the revelations to the sports ministry and six of its sports federations whose athletes were identified as part of the doping program. Instead of responding directly, Mr. Mutko, the minister, organized a news conference with journalists from the state-run news agency TASS, calling the Times inquiry baseless and suggesting it was part of an attempt to discredit Russian sports ahead of the Rio Games.

    “The system of organization of the Olympic Games was completely transparent,” Mr. Mutko told TASS. “Everything was under the control of international experts — from the collection of samples to their analysis.”

    Dr. Rodchenkov said the sports ministry actively guided the doping effort. In the six months before the Games, he said, he met with Mr. Mutko’s deputy, Yuri Nagornykh, in a second-floor office at the ministry’s palatial Moscow headquarters at least once a week.

    The antidoping laboratory for the 2014 Olympics was situated at the Olympic Park in Sochi, Russia. Credit Leon Neal/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    In an email, Mr. Nagornykh denied the existence of a doping program. “I have nothing to hide,” he wrote.

    Russian officials were under enormous pressure ahead of the Games. Sochi was to be a showcase of Russia’s resurgence as a global power, and the entire country was enlisted in the project. Billions of dollars were spent transforming the shabby subtropical resort town into a winter sports paradise. Mr. Putin himself had negotiated Russia’s Olympic bid and was personally involved in much of the planning.

    Hanging over everything was Russia’s disastrous sixth-place finish in the medal count at the previous Winter Olympics, in Vancouver, British Columbia. It would not matter if the world was wowed by the opening ceremony, or if the ski lifts ran smoothly.

    Dr. Rodchenkov said it was up to him to ensure that Russian athletes won the most medals, preferably gold ones.

    He had been the director of Russia’s antidoping laboratory in Moscow since 2005, and was widely considered among the world’s top experts in performance-enhancing drugs. He often experimented with such drugs on himself, he said.

    He published papers in peer-reviewed journals, traveled often to scientific conferences abroad and was a frequent guest at the annual antidoping symposium organized by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, most recently in October in Lansdowne, Va., just a month before he was forced to step down.

    By his own admission, Dr. Rodchenkov, who has a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry, used his expertise to help athletes properly use banned substances and go undetected, which he says was done at the behest of the Russian government. After years of trial and error, he said, he developed a cocktail of three anabolic steroids — metenolone, trenbolone and oxandrolone — that he claims many top-level Russian athletes used leading up to the London Olympics in 2012 and throughout the Sochi Games.

    The drugs, Dr. Rodchenkov said, helped athletes recover quickly after grueling training regimens, allowing them to compete in top form over successive days.

    To speed up absorption of the steroids and shorten the detection window, he dissolved the drugs in alcohol — Chivas whiskey for men, Martini vermouth for women.

    Dr. Rodchenkov’s formula was precise: one milligram of the steroid mixture for every milliliter of alcohol. The athletes were instructed to swish the liquid around in their mouths, under the tongue, to absorb the drugs.

    In the interviews, Dr. Rodchenkov boasted about his ability to shield doped athletes from detection. Even so, Russia had the highest number of athletes caught doping in 2014, according to WADA statistics.

    Dr. Rodchenkov said that some of his athletes would at times take drugs he had not approved, making them vulnerable to discovery. “All athletes are like small children,” he said. “They’ll put anything you give them into their mouths.”

    A case in point, he said, was Elena Lashmanova, a gold medalist in racewalking at the 2012 London Games. She had tested positive for banned substances while international observers were scrutinizing his lab, and to cover up her results would have endangered the entire operation, he said.

    In an email to Mr. Nagornykh, the deputy sports minister, dated April 18, 2014, he wrote that there was nothing he could do to protect Ms. Lashmanova without risking the lab’s accreditation.

    “Honestly, this lawlessness has reached its logical conclusion,” he wrote. “There can be no second opinion about this.”

    Three months later, Ms. Lashmanova was suspended from international competition for two years.

    Planning for Sochi
    For Dr. Rodchenkov, preparations for Sochi began in earnest in the fall of 2013. It was around that time, he said, that a man he came to believe was working for the Russian internal intelligence service, the F.S.B., began showing up at the lab in Moscow, inquiring about the bottles used for storing the urine samples tested for banned substances.

    The man took a particular interest in the toothed metal rings that lock the bottles when the cap is twisted shut. He collected hundreds of them, Dr. Rodchenkov said.

    An employee at the lab, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisals from the authorities, said that at some point it was communicated to employees that the man was there to “protect the lab.” He would pepper people with questions about the bottles, the employee said, but always in a friendly way. While his motivations were not explicit, they eventually became obvious to those working in the lab.

    “It was clear that he was going to try to get into the bottles,” the employee said.

    At all major international athletic competitions, athletes are required to submit a urine sample for testing. The sample is divided into two bottles. One, the A bottle, is tested immediately; the other, the B bottle, is sealed and stored for up to 10 years, in case the athlete’s past performance is ever called into question. A Swiss company, Berlinger, produces the self-locking glass bottles used for international competitions, including the Olympics.

    Because of the strict testing protocols at competitions, Dr. Rodchenkov said, athletes typically have to halt the use of banned substances before an event to avoid testing positive. But in hosting the Sochi Games, national sports officials saw an opportunity: They could control the antidoping lab results, he said, and allow athletes to use performance-enhancing drugs throughout competition.

    Getting into the bottles was the key.

    How exactly this was accomplished is still a mystery. Dr. Rodchenkov claims that at some point several weeks before the start of the Games, the man he believed to be an F.S.B. agent presented him with a previously sealed bottle that had been opened, its uniquely numbered cap intact.

    “When I first time saw that bottle is open, I did not believe my eyes,” he said, adding: “I truly believed this was tamper proof.”

    Swapping Out Dirty Urine

    In the months before Sochi, according to the November WADA report, international doping officials had threatened to revoke the accreditation of Dr. Rodchenkov’s lab because of suspicious discrepancies in sample results and complaints of “external interferences” in the lab’s operations. In November 2013, a disciplinary committee convened in Johannesburg to review the case.

    “Despite the substandard performance of the laboratory, there was a distinct desire not to revoke the accreditation of the laboratory prior to the Sochi Olympics,” last year’s WADA report said.

    The hole in the wall (covered by a removable cap) through which tainted urine samples were passed and replaced by clean samples during the Sochi Games, according to Dr. Rodchenkov. Credit Grigory Rodchenkov, via Bryan Fogel, ICARUS DOCUMENTARY FILM

    The testing laboratory for the Sochi Games had a staff of nearly 100 people, including employees of Dr. Rodchenkov’s lab in Moscow as well as dozens of international antidoping experts, flown in from cities like Beijing; Doha, Qatar; and Lausanne, Switzerland.

    Security was tight. There were numerous surveillance cameras, and anyone wishing to enter the lab required security clearance.

    An independent observer watched over the lab at random times of day, WADA said, but rarely worked overnight during the roughly two weeks of competition.

    Dr. Rodchenkov said that each night, a sports ministry official would send him a list of athletes whose samples needed to be swapped. To match the individual athletes to their anonymous samples — which are coded with a seven-digit number — Dr. Rodchenkov said that athletes snapped pictures of their sample forms, including the code, and texted them to the ministry, offering forbidden insight into whose urine was whose.

    After receiving a signal that “the urines were ready,” he changed from his lab coat into a Russian national team sweatshirt and left his fourth-floor office, typically after midnight. He checked that the coast was clear and made his way to Room 124, officially a storage space that he and his team had converted into a shadow laboratory.

    There, he said, with the room’s single window blacked out with tape, the switch would be made.

    A colleague stationed next door in the sample collection room would retrieve the correct bottles and pass them into the storage room through a circular hole cut through the wall near the floor, Dr. Rodchenkov said. During the day, he said, the hole was concealed by a small imitation-wood cabinet.

    The sealed B bottles were handed over to the man Dr. Rodchenkov believed was a Russian intelligence officer, who would take them to an adjacent building. Within hours, Dr. Rodchenkov said, the bottles were returned to the storage room, their caps unlocked.

    That man also supplied clean urine, collected from each of the athletes months prior to the Olympics, before they started doping, Dr. Rodchenkov said. It was delivered in soda bottles, baby formula bottles and other miscellaneous containers, he said.

    Making sure to keep the overhead light off, Dr. Rodchenkov and a colleague dumped the tainted urine into a nearby toilet, washed out the bottles, dried them with filter paper and filled them with the clean urine.

    He would then add table salt or water to balance out any inconsistencies in the recorded specifications of the two samples. Depending on what an athlete had consumed, two urine samples taken at different times could vary.

    Typically, the small team worked till dawn, breaking only occasionally for instant coffee and cigarettes.


    In the Sochi Games, Russian athletes won 33 medals — including 13 golds, 10 more than at the previous Winter Olympics.

    A third of all medals were awarded to athletes whose names appeared on the spreadsheet outlining the government’s doping plan that Dr. Rodchenkov said was provided by the sports ministry before the Games.

    They included Alexander Zubkov, a veteran bobsledder who won two golds; Alexander Legkov, a cross-country skier who won gold and silver; and Alexander Tretyakov, who won gold in the skeleton competition.

    Still, not all athletes on the list won a medal. The entire women’s hockey team was doping throughout the Games, Dr. Rodchenkov said. It finished in sixth place.

    Efforts to reach these athletes and others through their sports federations in Russia were unsuccessful. Several of the federations replied and denied any wrongdoing by their athletes. A spokesperson for the Russian Bobsled Federation said that all of its athletes “underwent doping control procedures in accordance to the rules.”

    “All of them were clean and not one positive result was found.”

    Southern California
    After the Olympics, the praise directed at Dr. Rodchenkov was effusive. He received commendations from not only Mr. Putin, but also the International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency.

    A subsequent report published by WADA called Sochi “a milestone in the evolution of the Olympic Games antidoping program.”

    The next year, however, WADA published a very different report which said investigators had found systematic doping among Russian track and field athletes. That inquiry, prompted by accusations from two whistle-blowers in Russian athletics — first published by the German public broadcaster ARD — put Dr. Rodchenkov squarely at the center of a national conspiracy.

    Within days, he was forced to resign, he said, and fearing for his safety, fled to Los Angeles. His travel was arranged by Mr. Fogel, whom he had first met just after Sochi, in 2014. Mr. Fogel was working on a documentary seeking to expose shortcomings in drug-testing for international sport — charting his own competition results with and without banned drugs — and Dr. Rodchenkov served as his adviser.

    In his six months in Los Angeles, Dr. Rodchenkov has taken on a more active role in that documentary, “Icarus,” to be released in September. He has otherwise spent his time gardening, making borscht and writing in his diary.

    Reflecting on his career, he said he was unapologetic about his role in Russia’s doping program, considering it a condition of his employment. To receive funding and support for his lab, he said, he had to do the Kremlin’s bidding.

    He had occasionally, however, run afoul of the Russian authorities in his work. In 2011, he was investigated for trafficking in performance-enhancing drugs, and he said he fully expected to go to prison. His sister was convicted and imprisoned on similar charges.

    He said he could not be sure why, but he suspected that he had been spared punishment so that he could play a crucial role at the Sochi Games.

    “It’s my redemption: success in Sochi,” he said. “Instead of being in prison, win at any cost.”
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  2. #2

    Re: The Sports Doping Thread

    And captain Louis Renault told Richard Blaine...
    Starry starry night

  3. #3

    Re: The Sports Doping Thread

    You have to admit the Chivas was a nice touch. I don't know about the vermouth though...
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  4. #4

    Re: The Sports Doping Thread

    IOC calls for WADA investigation after new claims of Russian doping in Sochi

    PUBLISHED: 17:54 EST, 12 May 2016 | UPDATED: 17:54 EST, 12 May 2016

    The International Olympic Committee has called for "very detailed and very worrying" allegations of Russian state-sponsored doping at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics to be investigated immediately by the World Anti-doping Agency.

    Hosts Russia topped the medal table in Sochi with 33 medals, 13 of them gold, but a New York Times report claims performance-enhancing drug use was rife and covered up.

    Dr Grigory Rodchenkov, who was director of the country's anti-doping laboratory at the time, alleges urine samples tainted by performance-enhancing drugs were exchanged, through a wall, for clean urine collected months earlier.

    "People are celebrating Olympic champion winners, but we are sitting crazy and replacing their urine," Dr Rodchenkov said in the New York Times.

    "Can you imagine how Olympic sport is organised?"

    WADA on Tuesday announced it would investigate allegations of doping at Sochi made in a CBS 60 Minutes documentary last Sunday.

    And the IOC called for further inquiries in response to the claims in the New York Times.

    An IOC spokesman said: "These allegations are very detailed and very worrying and we ask the World Anti-Doping Agency to investigate immediately.

    "The laboratory in Sochi was fully accredited by WADA. The IOC also relied on the work of its own international experts in the laboratory - the Games group.

    "Additionally, to safeguard the excellence of the analytical work of the laboratory, 15 to 20 international experts from 10 WADA-accredited laboratories, including several laboratory directors supervised the activities of the lab.

    "The organisation of the laboratory including the quality control system and chain of custody documentation was compliant with all international rules and regulations.

    "A WADA independent observer team monitored all anti-doping activities during the Sochi Olympic Winter Games and produced a satisfactory report following the Games.

    "Based on the findings of a WADA inquiry the IOC will not hesitate to act with its usual policy of zero tolerance for doping and defending the clean athletes."

    The Russian Ministry of Sport on Thursday night described the allegations as "a major shock" and questioned Rodchenkov's motives.

    A statement from the Russian Ministry of Sport read: "The allegations made by the former director of the laboratories came as a major shock to us.

    "Considering that he was fired from his position for manipulating tests it is very likely that he has other motives.

    "If these allegations have any factual substantiation, they should be handed over immediately to relevant anti-doping organisations for a full investigation."

    Russia's track and field athletes are currently the subject of a suspension which places their participation in the Rio Olympics in doubt.

    The ban was imposed following a WADA-commissioned independent report into allegations of drug use in athletics.

    UK Anti-doping was subsequently commissioned to undertake drug testing in Russia and has uncovered just two incidences of doping, according to Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko. In making the comments, Mutko omitted adverse findings for meldonium, which was banned from January 1, 2016.

    The Russian Ministry of Sport statement, responding to the New York Times allegations, added: "We have never claimed that we do not have doping problems and we acknowledge that changes are needed and we understand that we have to regain international community's trust for what we believe is a global issue.

    "The only way that we can achieve this is through concrete steps proving our loyalty to clean and fair sport.

    "We believe we have already proved Russia's commitment to fight doping by inviting international experts recommended by WADA to all key positions responsible for doping control and this guarantees independence and transparency of procedures.

    "We have nothing to hide. And we will continue this work."

    Meanwhile, WADA's compliance review committee (CRC) has recommended Kenya be declared non-compliant, casting doubt on the country's participation in this summer's Olympic Games.

    Having missed two deadlines to show it was addressing serious worries about its anti-doping efforts, Kenya passed legislation last month to create a new national anti-doping agency.

    But that has not been enough to satisfy WADA.

    The agency broke the news on its Twitter account, saying: "The WADA CRC has made the unanimous recommendation that Kenya be declared non-compliant with immediate effect.

    "The CRC cites issues with Kenya's legislation which it says is not in line with the World Anti-Doping Code."

    The recommendation needs to be ratified by the WADA board but it would be up to the IOC to decide whether to ban Kenya from the Rio Games.

    Kenya won 11 medals at London 2012, including two golds, all in athletics.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  5. #5

    Re: The Sports Doping Thread

    Can sport's anti-doping movement survive latest allegations?
    Bonnie D. Ford
    ESPN Senior Writer

    MONTREAL -- Kirsty Coventry is headed to the 2016 Rio Olympics for what she intends to be her fifth and final trip to the Games. She's one of the most accomplished athletes in her sport, yet she has anything but peace of mind.

    Coventry is a 32-year-old swimmer from Zimbabwe, an NCAA champion who competed for Auburn University, a four-time Olympian and seven-time medalist. She serves as an athlete representative for the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Olympic Committee.

    She couldn't attend Thursday's WADA Foundation Board meeting, so she enlisted retired Paralympic sledge hockey champion Todd Nicholson to read aloud what she had written:

    "I have no confidence that I will be competing on a level playing field in Rio.

    "We [WADA] market and portray ourselves as the 'Organization for Clean Sport' and 'Protecting Clean Athletes' but we are not. ... We either need to get full autonomy and independence to take actions, or we need to stop marketing ourselves as the organization that will get things done."

    Coventry's harsh words, delivered by proxy to a silent audience in a hotel conference room, were soon followed by a lunchtime dump truck delivery by the New York Times. In an explosive account, Grigory Rodchenkov, director of the national anti-doping laboratory in Moscow who also oversaw operations at the Sochi 2014 lab, described his participation in methodical sabotage of drug testing to aid dirty Russian athletes.

    The events of the past week might make the WADA leadership yearn for the halcyon days earlier this spring when their chief distractions were meldonium concentration in urine and a few laboratories that needed a timeout.

    "Some have been deflecting and putting their heads in the sand, but it's hard to look away now," said two-time Olympic 400-meter hurdles champion Edwin Moses, a longtime United States anti-doping advocate and policy strategist.

    He said this with no hint of gloating. On the contrary, Moses is deeply dismayed that the ingrained doping culture he first studied on an official task force visit to Russia in 1989 was an infection that never got knocked out and still saps his fellow athletes.

    Perception versus reality

    Not so long ago, there was a growing perception that Russia's invitation to the party in Brazil was a done deal, dictated by superpower influence, despite the complete defrocking of its track and field federation via WADA's independent commission investigation.

    Now the pressure to exclude Russia, and in particular its track and field team, from Rio will grow. The authority to do so lies not with WADA but with the IAAF, track and field's governing body, and ultimately with the IOC.

    The anti-doping establishment's credibility will leak away if Russia is allowed to compete. Its athletes already have reaped whatever benefits accrue from long-term doping, and now may have benefited from a semi-hiatus in testing.

    The UK Anti-Doping Agency, brought in to oversee testing, has found logistics daunting in a vast country with only 10 doping control officers available. RUSADA, Russia's suspended anti-doping agency, has been slow to foot the bills. Some cities are sealed off by security forces, thwarting DCOs.

    Adding to the evidentiary pile-on are Rodchenkov's dramatic claims. The ex-lab director admitted destroying more than 1,400 samples when he was interviewed by WADA investigators probing Russian track and field last year, but reserved the most lurid and damning details about the system for the filmmaker who helped him flee to the U.S. shortly after the WADA report was published. The narrative reads more like a Cold War-era James Bond screenplay than the basis for a documentary.

    WADA didn't green-light a wider investigation of Russian sport until this week -- six months after its independent commission report first aimed a strobe at state-sponsored doping, and 17 months after the German television network ARD aired the story of Russian whistleblowers Vitaly and Yuliya Stepanov.

    Beckie Scott, the retired Canadian cross-country skier who chairs the WADA athlete committee, took the agency to task for its recent passivity. This is the second time the group has pushed for all of Russian sport to go under the microscope because of what Scott described as "the utter, complete implausibility of this system being in place to service only track and field athletes."

    "If we do nothing, if we don't investigate, lead investigations and not just follow up on television programs, if we don't sanction, then we lose not only athletes' belief in the system, but we lose the belief that winning clean is possible," Scott said Thursday, her tone professional but laced with audible frustration.

    She is an authority on the subject, having exchanged her Salt Lake City 2002 bronze medal for a silver and then a gold when the two Russians who finished ahead of her were disqualified for doping.

    Yet despite that experience, Scott supports a petition from Yuliya Stepanov -- who served a two-year suspension for doping infractions -- to race her former specialty, the 800 meters, at the European Athletic Championships in July, and in Rio the following month, under a neutral flag.

    "We give second chances to other people, and in light of the contribution she's made to the anti-doping landscape, she should have exceptional privileges," Scott said. "Not many people have done as much as she has, and sacrificed as much."

    The Stepanovs helped unmask the doping enablers in the Russian sports establishment, fled out of safety concerns and took refuge in the U.S.

    WADA, mindful of that experience and trying to scramble out of reactive mode, has committed to upgrading its staff training, communications and investigatory capacity with regard to processing tips and handling informants. To be fair, the agency has no means or mandate to put whistleblowers in anything akin to a witness protection program.

    "What incentive is there for dopers, or even the few people that may know who is doping, to come forward?" Coventry posed in her written remarks.

    The answer is currently: not enough. So the way sport treats the Stepanovs from here on in could be crucial.

    'Time and time again I have been disappointed'

    It was a comment easy to miss during Thursday's marathon meeting.

    The WADA board had just absorbed an update on the so-called "single testing authority." That's the concept proposed by the IOC to create one unified, independent entity to coordinate sample collection from athletes worldwide.

    The idea of doing a gut remodel on WADA's merely 16-year-old house is either terrific or ludicrous, depending on who is asked. One thing everyone agrees on is that no one knows how to pay for it. IOC president Thomas Bach initially proposed that WADA simply move testing and results management under its umbrella. That is adamantly opposed by most established national anti-doping agencies as a conflict of interest. "WADA can't be a player and a referee at the same time," said Joseph de Pencier, CEO of the international association of NADOs.

    Nevertheless, internal talks have been convened and a feasibility study is underway. During the discussion portion of the agenda item, three-time Olympic slalom canoe champion Tony Estanguet of France, now retired, spoke up. He wanted to make sure athletes had representation on the steering committee.

    The fact that he had to ask hints at the disenfranchisement felt by many Olympic athletes. Long term, will they look inward, ponder voting with their feet and explore ways to organize for collective bargaining?

    Until and unless that materializes, sanctioning and consequences will tend to be disproportionate. Athletes will continue to be suspended for tainted supplements and recreational drugs while sport federations and countries get off the hook for major dysfunction, because of money and geopolitical dynamics.

    Athletes traditionally don't care to dwell on those issues in public. They don't want to spare the time and energy. They don't want to sound like they're making excuses. They want to believe they can win on a given day, regardless of their opponents' possible chemical enhancement. They would rather not let it rent space in their heads.

    But the chorus is rising. The statement Coventry sent for Nicholson to read included blunt messages she received from other swimmers, including several U.S. Olympians.

    From butterfly specialist Cammile Adams: "I personally feel that WADA has let down every clean athlete in sport."

    From 4x100-meter freestyle relay silver medalist Jimmy Feigen: "I have continued to place a lot of hope in the many opportunities for WADA to step in and clean up the system. Time and time again I have been disappointed."

    From veteran sprinter and Sydney 2000 gold medalist Anthony Ervin: "As athletes we open ourselves to the invasion of our bodies for the sake of a cleaner sport; yet all these invasions serve only as a route to despair when one after another, athletes, in particular star athletes, are created and protected by their State."

    Ervin's malaise would have been reinforced by last Sunday's episode of "60 Minutes," which revealed that Vitaly Stepanov furnished WADA with information on the corruption in the system for four years before any action was taken. That action was a recommendation that he share what he knew with ARD reporter Hajo Seppelt.

    Outgoing WADA director general David Howman said there were no realistic law enforcement or regulatory options, other than going to Russian authorities, which was obviously out of the question.

    The thought of WADA sitting still while Russia literally ran wild is head-spinning, especially given the apparent scope of the con game in Sochi (and, by logical deduction, at the 2013 track world championships in Moscow and last year's swim worlds in Kazan). We'll never know how many ethical athletes have been defrauded with no hope of compensation. Or how many unfairly spend their careers dealing with the same suspicions as the cheaters because a flawed process obfuscates both genuine and enhanced accomplishments.

    Any system that thoroughly beatable will beat up people on both ends.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  6. #6

    Re: The Sports Doping Thread

    More and more reasons not to watch the Olympics. But I have been saying this for over a decade now.
    Last edited by ponchi101; 05-14-2016 at 10:19 AM.
    Starry starry night

  7. #7

    Re: The Sports Doping Thread

    Russia backs retesting of Sochi Olympic doping samples
    May. 14, 2016 10:39 AM EDT

    MOSCOW (AP) — Russia says it supports retesting drug test samples from the 2014 Sochi Olympics after accusations it operated a mass doping program at the games.

    Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of the Russian anti-doping laboratory, told the New York Times he switched tainted urine samples for clean ones for athletes allegedly identified by the Russian government as being part of a state doping system.

    "It all needs to be retested," Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told the state R-Sport news agency on Saturday. "That's easiest."

    It is far from clear how any retesting could work since Rodchenkov told the Times he threw away as many as 100 original samples, or what punishment athletes might face if their samples are found to have been interfered with in the laboratory.

    Rodchenkov has offered to assist in retesting, and to identify any samples which may have been tampered with. The International Olympic Committee said on Friday it will discuss the offer with the World Anti-Doping Agency.

    Russian officials have denied operating a doping program or influencing the testing, and Mutko's deputy, Yuri Nagornykh, has suggested Russia could sue the Times. Three gold medalists named in the Times report have denied doping.

    Mutko suggested on Saturday that, instead of Russia, the IOC and WADA should be facing questions over Rodchenkov's allegations.

    "He's a professional, worked for a hundred years in this system. And now he's putting pressure on the whole IOC and WADA system," Mutko said.

    Come on this is comedy gold. What are they going to retest?!
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  8. #8

    Re: The Sports Doping Thread

    There are very large diagrams at the link.

    Russian Doctor Explains How He Helped Beat Doping Tests at the Sochi Olympics
    MAY 13, 2016

    The director of Russia’s antidoping laboratory during the 2014 Winter Olympics revealed to The New York Times how Russian agents used an elaborate scheme to swap out tainted urine samples from Russian athletes.

    Grigory Rodchenkov, the antidoping laboratory director, said that each night a sports official sent him a list of athletes whose samples needed to be swapped.

    Athletes also sent photos of their doping control forms to help identify which urine sample were theirs.

    Upon receiving a signal, usually after midnight, Dr. Rodchenkov went to Room 124. The room was officially a storage space, but he and his team had converted it into a laboratory.

    Room 124 was next to the official sample collection room where the bottles of urine were kept.

    A colleague in the collection room passed the urine samples through a hole in the wall near the floor. The openings were covered with white plastic caps. The opening on the collection room side was also concealed by a small faux-wood cabinet during the day.

    View of the hole from the “storage space” where Dr. Rodchenkov and his colleagues worked.

    View of the hole from the official urine sample collection room.Photographs by Grigory Rodchenkov, via Bryan Fogel, Icarus Documentary Film

    The urine sample bottles, manufactured by Berlinger, a Swiss company, were designed so that they could not be opened without breaking the cap once the bottle had been sealed. When it is time to test the urine sample, the cap is removed by breaking it into two parts with tools or machines sold by Berlinger.

    Diagram by Yuliya Parshina-Kottas

    In Room 124, Dr. Rodchenkov received the sealed bottles through the hole and handed them to a man who he believed was a Russian intelligence officer. The man took the bottles to a building nearby. Within a few hours, the bottles were returned with the caps loose and unbroken.

    Dr. Rodchenkov’s team emptied and cleaned the bottles with filter paper and filled them with untainted urine collected from the athletes months before the Olympics.

    They would then add table salt or water to balance out any inconsistencies in the recorded specifications of the two samples. Depending on what an athlete had consumed, two urine samples taken at different times could vary.

    A third of Russia’s 33 medals were awarded to athletes whose names appeared on a spreadsheet outlining the government’s doping plan.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  9. #9

    Re: The Sports Doping Thread

    Russia has hired an internationally known PR firm to do damage control:
    Via Burson-Marsteller, statement of apology from Russian sports ministry:

    Russia “sorry” for past mistakes, sets out steps for anti-doping reform

    May 15, 2016 -- Vitaly Mutko, Russia’s Minister of Sport, today has apologized for past mistakes and set out Russia’s anti-doping reform agenda in detail.

    Writing in today’s Sunday Times, Mutko says: “In under three months, one of the world’s greatest sporting spectacles will begin in Rio: a festival of sporting excellence and excitement bringing together athletes from all corners of the globe. Except from Russia. As it currently stands, when the Olympic flame is lit in the "Maracanã stadium" on August 5, our track and field athletes may not be there.

    “The reasons for the All-Russian Athletics Federation being suspended from the IAAF have been well-documented. They are weighty. Serious mistakes have been made by the Federation management, along with athletes and coaches who have broken anti-doping rules and neglected the principle of fair play, so fundamental to sport for immediate benefits. Let us be clear. We are ashamed of them.

    “We are very sorry that athletes who tried to deceive us, and the world, were not caught sooner. We are very sorry because Russia is committed to upholding the highest standards in sport and is opposed to anything that threatens the Olympic values.

    “Since Russia was suspended last November, with RUSADA, the Moscow laboratory and the ARAF all losing their WADA status, we have agreed a road-map with WADA aimed at restructuring these organizations, taking a series of steps to demonstrate how committed we are to ensuring that sport in our country is clean and fair.

    “Before the Rio Games begin, our aspiring Olympians will undergo a minimum of three anti-doping controls carried out by the IAAF – in addition to any testing that they receive in all qualifying competitions. In addition, two international experts are now based in Moscow to supervise all activities of our anti-doping agency.

    “We have also signed an agreement with the UK’s anti-doping agency, UKAD, to carry out all anti-doping activities until our program is restored, and we have made key changes to the leadership of the All-Russia Athletic Federation to give the sport a fresh start. Furthermore, all disputed cases of alleged doping have been handed over to the sports arbitration court (CAS) in Lausanne in order that the process can be extra-transparent.”

    “We will do everything humanly possible to ensure our athletes are a part of clean, fair and enthralling Games.”
    via @olyphil (Phllip Hersh)

    Russian sports ministry now using global PR firm Burson-Marsteller to do damage control on doping.
    — Philip Hersh (@olyphil) May 15, 2016
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  10. #10

    Re: The Sports Doping Thread

    Alexander Povetkin tests positive for meldonium, title fight vs. Deontay Wilder in jeopardy
    By: Mike Coppinger | May 13, 2016 2:56 pm
    The highly anticipated heavyweight title fight between Deontay Wilder and Alexander Povetkin is in jeopardy.

    Povetkin, the WBC’s No. 1 heavyweight contender, tested positive for meldonium under advanced tested by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association, part of the new WBC Clean Boxing Program, it was announced Friday. ESPN’s Dan Rafael first reported the news.

    The A sample was collected on April 27. It showed the substance, which increases blood flow, in the Russian’s system. The heavyweight title fight, scheduled for May 21 in Moscow, is on for now.

    “We’re investigating everything and putting all the information on the table to make a determination with all the facts,” WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman told USA TODAY Sports. “I believe we will be making a public statement at end of day (Friday) or tomorrow morning.”

    “We need to look into safety but also justice. We need to find out all the facts. The B sample will be open. It’s very important we go through the whole process.”

    When athletes are tested, the samples are separated into “A” and “B” and if the A sample shows evidence of the drug in the system, the parties are notified. Only if the B sample also shows the substance in the system is the athlete considered doping.

    Andrey Ryabinskiy, Povetkin’s promoter, said on Twitter: “Alexander Povetkin used to take meldonium in September last year, when the drug was permitted. Povetkin has not been taking this drug since January, but theoretically meldonium could remain in the blood.”

    Meldonium was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned substance list in January, and since then, over 170 athletes have tested positive, with 40-plus coming from Russia. The drug aids in carrying more oxygen to muscle tissue and would help keep an endurance athlete fresh.

    It’s unclear how long the substance stays in the body, and WADA acknowledged in a memo last month that “there is currently a lack of clear scientific information on excretion times.”

    Victor Conte, the CEO of SNAC System and BALCO founder who supplied PEDs to athletes such as Barry Bonds and Marion Jones, told USA TODAY Sports that there are many variables that determine how long a substance such as meldonium stays in the system.

    Injectables last twice as long as oral capsules, and it also depends on length of use, dosage and body-fat percentage. Conte used nandrolone as an example. The anabolic steroid, called the “kiss of death” for athletes who use it, sometimes stays in the system as long as 18 months.

    Meldonium enhances an athlete’s performance by creating larger red blood cells while also removing byproducts such as ammonia, carbon dioxide and lactic acid.

    “I have no doubt it’s a powerful performance-enhancing drug,” Conte said. “It’s a stamina benefit. You don’t get tired, you just keep rocking. You’d be like the Energizer Bunny during sparring.”

    Wilder, who has made three successful defenses of his title, is currently in Sheffield, England, training for the fight. The 30-year-old from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is one of the biggest punchers in the sport, and is ranked No. 3 by BoxingJunkie at heavyweight.

    He actually accused Povetkin of doping one year ago in an interview with USA TODAY’s Bob Velin.

    “I think he’s juicing. He’s looking too big,” Wilder said last May. “I have people that have trained him and know him, and being from a different country, they have different techniques that they use.

    “He’s on some kind of steroids. But you know, that’s just my opinion. It’s not going to affect me when it’s time to fight and I’m looking forward (to fighting Povetkin). That’s how I feel.”

    Povetkin (30-1, 22 KOs) earned the title shot with a first-round knockout of Mike Perez last year. The Olympic gold medalist once held the WBA title, but the 36-year-old lost it to Wladimir Klitschko in a 2013 decision loss, when he was knocked down four times.

    “I’m disappointed and upset and somewhat angry, but certainly not shocked,” Lou DiBella, who promotes Wilder (36-0, 35 KOs), told USA TODAY Sports.

    The WBC will make a determination soon on the status of the fight. Showtime is in talks to televise the fight in America, but a deal still hasn’t been consummated.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  11. #11

    Re: The Sports Doping Thread

    ‘Russia is sorry and has cleaned up its act. Please let us compete in Rio’

    May 15 2016, 12:01am, The Sunday Times

    Vitaly Mutko: ‘doping is a global problem, not just a Russian one’

    In less than three months, one of the world’s greatest sporting spectacles will begin in Rio de Janeiro: a festival of sporting excellence and excitement bringing together athletes from all corners of the globe.

    Except from Russia. As it stands, when the Olympic flame is lit in the Maracana stadium on August 5, our track and field athletes may not be there. These are men and women who have sacrificed years of their lives striving to compete at the very highest level, who have dreamt of taking part in the Olympic Games, and who now face having their sacrifice wasted and their dreams shattered.

    The reasons for the All-Russia Athletic Federation (Araf) being suspended from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) have been well documented. They are weighty. Serious mistakes have been made by the federation management, along with athletes and coaches who have broken anti-doping rules and neglected the principle of fair play, so fundamental to sport for immediate benefits. Let us be clear. We are ashamed of them.

    We are very sorry that athletes who tried to deceive us, and the world, were not caught sooner. We are very sorry because Russia is committed to upholding the highest standards in sport and is opposed to anything that threatens the Olympic values.
    But there are three important reasons why the decision to suspend Russian athletes from taking part in the 2016 Olympics would be unfair and disproportionate.

    First, athletes who have dedicated many years of their lives to training and preparation for the Games, and who have never sought to gain an unfair advantage through doping, should not be punished for the acts of others.

    It cannot be right that clean athletes should suffer for the behaviour of others. In no other walk of life would this happen.
    Vitaly Mutko, Russian minister of sport

    Besides this, how does it make sense that Russia’s athletes should be singled out as the only ones to be punished for a problem that is widely acknowledged to go far beyond our country’s borders.

    We do not deny having a problem in Russia, and we are doing everything possible at the state level to eradicate doping, including punishing athletes and coaches found to have violated anti-doping rules. But doping is a global problem, not just a Russian one.
    Professional sport is big business, and with the vast sums of money involved there is ever-more pressure on athletes to perform to ever- higher standards. It is hard to think of any sport or country around the world that has not been tainted with this issue.

    Only in the past few weeks Kenya has been forced to introduce an anti-doping law to deter its athletes from doping; and China has had its national anti-doping laboratory suspended by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) for up to four months. Documentaries have been aired recently raising the issue of doping even in the UK and America.

    If it is unfair to exclude innocent, committed athletes for these reasons, then there is a third point that should reassure even the staunchest critic.

    Since Russia was suspended last November, with the country’s anti-doping agency, the Moscow laboratory and Araf all losing their Wada status, we have agreed a road map with Wada aimed at restructuring these organisations, taking a series of steps to demonstrate how committed we are to ensuring that sport in our country is clean and fair.

    Before the Rio Games begin, our aspiring Olympians will undergo a minimum of three anti-doping controls carried out by the IAAF — along with any testing that they receive in all qualifying competitions.

    In addition, two international experts are now based in Moscow to supervise all activities of our anti- doping agency. Russia is going further than all other countries in the level of testing of our athletes. No other nation’s athletes will have been placed under the spotlight to the same degree as ours will be. Such an intense glare does not allow anywhere for cheats to hide. We fully support these measures as Russia has nothing to hide

    While these are all significant steps in themselves, we have done even more. We have also signed an agreement with the UK’s anti-doping agency to carry out all anti-doping activities until our programme is restored, and we have made key changes to the leadership of Araf to give the sport a fresh start.

    Furthermore, all disputed cases of alleged doping have been handed over to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, in Lausanne, in order that the process can be extra-transparent.

    We have done everything that has been asked of us by the IAAF in order to be reinstated. It would be unjust to demand all these changes and measures, witness them happen and then still punish Russia’s athletes. We believe passionately in the Olympic spirt and values. That is what motivates our athletes and it is what they strive for. The Olympic Games should be a cause of unity. Barring Russia’s athletes from competing in Rio would risk tearing this unity apart.

    Russia’s absence from Rio would be a permanent reminder of an Olympic Games that has been broken. It would also be poorer, not just for the lack of top athletes missing from its flagship events, but for missing the memories that our sportsmen and women could contribute.

    Who can forget the achievement of Alexander Popov when he became the only swimmer yet to win four individual Olympic gold medals in freestyle events, or the crowd’s reaction to gymnast Alexei Nemov, standing and applauding his performance for so long that the judges were forced to change their marks?

    The Olympic Games in Rio offers a chance for our athletes to make history and to create similar memories. The world will be watching. We will do everything humanly possible to ensure our athletes are a part of clean, fair and enthralling Games.

    via @olyphil
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  12. #12

    Re: The Sports Doping Thread

    Deontay Wilder-Alexander Povetkin title fight postponed
    Dan Rafael
    ESPN Senior Writer

    Heavyweight titleholder Deontay Wilder's defense against mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin was called off Sunday in the wake of Povetkin's positive test for the banned substance meldonium.

    Wilder and Povetkin were scheduled for their much-anticipated fight on May 21 at the Khodynka Ice Palace in Moscow, but in a Voluntary Anti-Doping Association urine test conducted April 27 in Chekhov, Russia, Povetkin tested positive for meldonium. The test results came to light Friday when the VADA sent letters to both camps and the WBC, whose title Wilder holds, disclosing them.

    Wilder and his team have been in Sheffield, England, for the past two weeks training and adjusting to several hours of time difference. They were scheduled to fly to Moscow on Sunday afternoon but did not board their flight and were making plans to return to the United States despite having not heard from the WBC on the matter, a member of Wilder's team told

    Hours after Wilder and his team skipped their flight, the WBC, having little choice with the titleholder preparing to return home, announced the fight was off and called it a postponement.

    "The World Boxing Council is diligently addressing the positive test result from the [WBC's] clean boxing program for mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin," WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman said in a statement. "Keeping the priority of safety and also the principle of justice, the WBC will continue the investigation into the case. Consequently, the event scheduled for May 21 in Moscow is hereby officially postponed. The WBC will be releasing more information in the coming days regarding the final ruling on the matter."

    Wilder, who embraced going to foreign territory to defend his title, was upset that the fight was called off.

    "I'm very disappointed that due to Povetkin's failed drug test the fight is not going to happen on May 21 in Moscow," Wilder said in a statement. "I had worked very hard to prepare myself for this important title defense, spending the last two weeks training in England to get accustomed to fighting in Europe. I wanted to give the fans a great show, but we understand the WBC's position that the fight occur on an even playing field.

    "This is a huge disappointment and a setback to my goals in boxing. I want to be an active heavyweight champion and it is still my goal to collect all the belts and become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world."

    Meldonium is the same drug for which tennis star Maria Sharapova and many other athletes recently tested positive. It was approved to be added to the banned substance list by the World Anti-Doping Agency in September, and the ban went into effect Jan. 1. Meldonium is used to increase blood flow and carry more oxygen to muscles, thereby enhancing stamina, a trait boxers would want in a long fight.

    "The guy tested positive for a dangerous drug and the health and safety of Deontay was paramount, so the fight could not take place on May 21," Wilder promoter Lou DiBella told "Deontay would have fought King Kong without any regard for what substance was being used, but Povetkin's use of this banned substance and the breach of the contract deprived Deontay of an opportunity to defend his title on a fair playing field. As a result, Deontay has suffered significant damages.

    "He has gone through his entire training camp and expended a tremendous amount of time and money and energy. It's awful."

    Andrey Ryabinsky of World of Boxing, Povetkin's promoter, said the fight would be rescheduled while the rest of the card will go forward. A cruiserweight world title unification bout between Russia's Denis Lebedev (28-2, 21 KOs) and Victor Emilio Ramirez (22-2-1, 17 KOs), of Argentina, has been moved from the co-feature to the main event.

    "Any talk from Ryabinsky of a rescheduled date is both unfounded and premature," DiBella said. "We need to sit back and await further rulings from the WBC, but we will weigh all of our options."

    There is a lot of money at stake. Based on Ryabinsky's winning purse bid of $7.15 million, Wilder was due $4,504,500 to Povetkin's $1,930,500 with the remaining 10 percent -- $715,000 -- going to the winner. With no fight, the purses won't be paid and a lawsuit is likely to ensue; Wilder's purse is sitting in escrow in a United States bank, according to his camp.

    If there is a lawsuit, Ryabinsky could have issues mirroring a 2014 situation he was in.

    Lebedev, who is promoted by Ryabinsky, was due to face Guillermo Jones in a rematch in Russia, but with the fighters in their dressing rooms hours before the fight, Jones tested positive for a banned diuretic, which is typically used as a masking agent for steroids. The fight was canceled, and Ryabinsky later won a judgment against Jones promoter Don King for the money he and Lebedev were owed for the bout.

    Ryabinsky said Povetkin's levels of meldonium were very low and that the traces in his system were left over from when he took it in September, before the ban.

    "He has not taken it since Jan. 1. The situation is ambiguous," Ryabinsky told Russia's TASS news agency before the fight was called off. "The blood sample was taken in April this year."

    However, Povetkin was tested by the VADA on April 7, 8 and 11, and each of those tests came back negative for any banned substances, according to two letters obtained in which the VADA disclosed those test results to both sides and the WBC. Those results indicate that meldonium apparently entered Povetkin's system after the ban was in place.

    Wilder (36-0, 35 KOs), 30, a 2008 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, was supposed to make his fourth title defense against Russia's Povetkin (30-1, 22 KOs), 36, a 2004 Olympic gold medalist. Povetkin loomed as Wilder's most significant opponent, and the fight is one of the significant bouts that could be made in the heavyweight division.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  13. #13

    Re: The Sports Doping Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by ponchi101 View Post
    More and more reasons not to watch the Olympics. But I have been saying this for over a decade now.
    Ponchi, You have no idea how often I think "I should not honor this drug-infested ritual with my spectating time". But you can believe I'll be glued to as much of the action as I can manage (though now almost all on TiVo and at least somewhat delayed).

    But having watched the Soviet and then Russian Skating Federations, aided by their very long tentacles into so many other federations, totally ruin the sport of figure skating, I am fairly convinced that winning at the Olympic level is so important there that they will go to absolutely ANY means to win in any sport where cheating is helpful: doping with all sorts of cheating to cover it problem; telling your own judges exactly how to problem; infiltrating other federations with officials who are Russian (e.g. former Soviet republics obviously, but many others as well) problem; paying off officials and doping problem at all.

    Banning the entire Russian team from Rio might be a way to start saying this is being taken seriously, but I doubt even that will have a long-term positive effect.

    And fools like me will continue to support the Olympics with our viewership (and in my case, attendance at 6 prior Winter Olympics). I wish I knew what would really help make this better, but I really don't.

    I certainly feel sorry for Kirsty Coventry and anyone else on those agency boards who would really like to make changes. I fear they are merely beating their heads on the wall.


  14. #14
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    James7's Avatar
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    Mar 2009
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    Re: The Sports Doping Thread

    I used to watch the olympics back when I was with only broadcast TV living with family and it was one of the few things on. Recent olympics I have to say I have not watched at all. With only a minor interest in checking periodically on medal results. Maybe trying to find an online clip if something notable is reported (and that's becoming easier to do now).

    I suspect this is going to become more of the norm in general for olympic viewing habits. Few people are going to watch full broadcasts, and most of those are going to be recorded and viewed later with liberal fast forwarding.
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  15. #15

    Re: The Sports Doping Thread

    James7, Agreed. Obviously, the TV stations are looking at this as a bonanza for advertising dollars. But since TiVo came along, I virtually never even notice what ads are on. So they aren't getting a lot of benefit from people who watch like I do. I watch all tennis and golf the same way. And all with liberal fast-forwarding, for instance through virtually all "talking-head" segments.


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